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The Season's Big Questions Answered


We speak to ESPN's pundits Robbie Savage, Craig Burley and Chris Waddle about the season ahead.

Have Manchester United’s summer signings made the team invincible?

Robbie Savage: In the league they’ll be an unstoppable force.

Craig Burley: Favourites? Yes. Unstoppable? Absolutely not. David De Gea is an unproven goalkeeper. Even Fabien Barthez crumbled under the pressure of playing for Manchester United.

Chris Waddle: Van der Sar will be a big loss.

RS: I think De Gea will be a fantastic goalkeeper, Phil Jones is a future England captain and Ashley Young has pace — and you can’t beat pace in the Premier League.

Will Arsenal drop out of the top four?

RS: They lack leaders — a Tony Adams or a Martin Keown. And they need a central midfielder who can put their foot in, such as Scott Parker or Joey Barton. Otherwise, they’re in a massive mess.

CB: If Wenger doesn’t pull his finger out and sign some players, they won’t qualify for the Champions League.

Can Andre Villas-Boas live up to the hype?

CW: Definitely. His record at Porto was great. And at Chelsea he has players capable of winning the league.

CB: I don’t think so. He’s the one person who could fall flat on his arse. He did well at Porto, but that’s only the Portuguese league. Now he’s got big egos to deal with.

CW: There’s nothing in that senior player stuff — you don’t coach these players, they coach themselves.

CB: But they will need managing. And Fernando Torres looks like a £5m player, not a £50m player.

RS: He’ll have no problem with Torres. He can’t be any worse than he was last year.

Is anything less than the league title a failure for Manchester City?

CW: It’s not necessarily a failure because they’ve got to respect the teams pushing for the same prize.

CB: They finished third last year, so second is good enough for now. But they’ve signed well.

RS: Any improvement on last year is a positive. I know Roberto Mancini’s my friend, but I can honestly say he’s an excellent manager. Look at the spine of the team — Hart, Kompany, Yaya Toure, Aguero. It’s the best in British football.

Has Harry Redknapp taken Tottenham as far as he can?

RS: It’ll be impossible for them to match Man City this season.

CW: The key for them is to avoid injuries. If Harry gets players in and they stay fit, they could finish third.

RS: Third? No chance. Rubbish.

Are Liverpool on target for the Champions League?

CB: They suffer at the back, but they’ve not signed anyone there.

CW: Going forward, Liverpool are quite good. And I can see Luis Suarez winning Player Of The Year. But because of their defensive frailties, I wouldn’t bet on them finishing fourth.

RS: I wouldn’t put money on it, but I think they’ll be in the top four.

CB: I see them finishing fifth. And I would put money on it.

Watch Barclays Premier League matches live on ESPN and ESPN HD; espn.co.uk/tv

Images: PA/Getty



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